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Red River College Finland Partnership

Red River College recently renewed their international partnership with the Consortium of Vocational Colleges in Finland, a multi-cultural learning society owned by Central Finnish municipalities. The agreement, which initially commenced in 2013, provides students with education and skills, promotes entrepreneurship and contributes to the business, industry and public sector.

The college has since welcomed two groups of Finnish students into the Transportation Heavy Apprenticeship Trades program. In March 2019, two RRC Automotive Technician students, Niall Rasmussen and Tyler Rosmus spent a month in Turku, Finland.  They were accompanied by RRC instructors – Dustin Blackwell and Elaine Lagasse.

This was Rasmussen’s first big trip overseas, and first time living away from home. On top of his work placement at the Audi Center, he was juggling school, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning for himself. Both RRC students stayed in a dorm connected to the school.

“I found this challenging, but I benefited from it. I learned the importance of punctuality, and a good work ethic,” says Rasmussen.

Lagasse, who has been teaching at RRC for 11 years, agrees that the students gain invaluable life experience on the trip.

“They come back with a sense of empowerment and are more ready to tackle life after college,” she says.

The two students and both instructors noted the similarities between Canada and Finland. Rasmussen found that the food and climate reminded him of home.

The residents of Turku are familiar with Winnipeg, too—thanks to Patrik Laine. While eating dinner one night at a restaurant in town, the waiter showed Lagasse (who was wearing a Winnipeg Jets sweater) a set of stairs that Laine used to train on.

The trip was fully funded by Red River College through its Centre for International Education and Global Partnerships (CIEGP). The College believes in the value of internationalization for students and instructors. As referenced in RRC’s Academic and Research Plan, international education is a key part of the Province’s and the country’s strategy to attract and retain the talent that is needed to ensure economic growth and social development.

In November 2019, the college will again be hosting four students from Finland in the Transportation Technology area. The College has also initiated similar partnerships with institutions in China, Brazil, India, and Denmark in various programs.